Dodgers: Time is Now for Yu Darvish and His Future

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 06: Yu Darvish /

With a 2-0 series lead, the Dodgers will now turn to their big fish from the trade deadline to finish off the D-Backs.

Yu Darvish will take the mound for the Dodgers for the chance to complete the NLDS sweep of division rivals the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers have been the better team, and almost everything has gone right.

But if there is one thing to pause for, it’s the starting pitching. Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw haven’t been terrible but have combined to allow six runs in 10.1 innings. Kershaw was hit by the dreaded 7th inning, and after giving up two runs in the first, Hill settled down to pitch three more scoreless innings.

So yea, they did not perform as expected from them. Enter Yu Darvish.

Darvish was the big prize at this year’s trade deadline, and the acquisition was celebrated by many. And rightfully so. He’s one of the better pitchers in the game, and when he is on, compares to Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber and Chris Sale (the four best pitchers in my opinion).

He had an excellent debut in blue but struggled over his next five starts before settling down over his past three. In his last three starts, which spanned 19.1 innings, Darvish was charged with just two runs (one earned).

He fixed up his mechanics and looked to be more comfortable in his new surroundings. And now the Dodgers need him to continue this production when they most need it. The playoffs.

This was what he was brought in for. To serve as an additional ace the Dodgers can throw at opponents. If you can throw a pitcher of Yu Darvish’s caliber with his kind of stuff in Game 3 with a chance to clinch, you’re in great shape.

It’s time for him to live up to the hype and show why Los Angeles traded a highly-regarded prospect to bring in the Japanese ace. As Corey Seager merely put it:

"Yu’s incredible. Elite stuff plays in the playoffs and he has it. That’s kind of what we’re looking for and that’s what we got out of him."

The Dodgers are in World-Series-or-bust mode right now, and Darvish understand’s it. He has playoff experience, but just two starts that spread across 11.1 innings. He’s had one good and one bad start, equating to seven earned runs (5.40 ERA).

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But scratch that, this is different. This is a different Yu. Experience and role have a lot to do with it. He’s more battle-tested because of his additional experience and does not have to be the guy. LA already has a guy who fills that role.

He has the cushion of a 2-0 lead, so he does not have to force anything. He might still have butterflies and goosebumps ( it is October), but they won’t be as big as they’d be if Los Angeles was down 2-0, or even tied 1-1 for that matter.

He will be going up against Zack Greinke, Kershaw’s right-handed Robin from two years ago. The Dodgers have struggled to replace him, and they finally did by bringing in the hard-throwing Japanese. He has a chance to upstage the former-Dodger and show that he is better-suited to complement the southpaw.

But if he doesn’t perform as expected, the stakes and effect of the playoffs may start to creep into his mind and potentially affect his confidence and mindset. We don’t want that. You need him as comfortable as possible.

If he does well, then that means he’s on a roll dating back to the regular season. And when a starter is on a roll, it’s hard to get him out of it. If he does well in a hitter’s park like Chase Field against the Arizona hitters, pitching well against Chicago and Washington is a good bet.

Confidence is the key to performing in sports. If you have a lot of it, you have a better chance of doing well and drowning out all the external pressure and internal butterflies. You don’t have any or are low on it, and you aren’t the same. Just ask USC quarterback Sam Darnold.

And we cannot forget about Darvish’s impending free agency. With how pitching is valued nowadays, he is in line to receive over $100 million this winter. If he has a good postseason, then that value will be bumped up significantly, potentially reaching the mid-100’s and beyond.

If he proves worthy of the money, then Los Angeles might (and hopefully will) look to resign him and let him be part of a potential dynasty. This is his last best chance at a huge payday, so he wants to make it count.

Next: Division Rivals in Playoffs Bad?

If he proves that he is worth shelling out huge bucks, then it will be a good sign for the Dodgers. Tonight’s start will have a lot of say on the team’s momentum, and his momentum and confidence which will affect his future starts, directly correlating with his future in general. Time to perform on the stage he was brought in for.